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COVID-19 In Dubuque

The coronavirus has posed a challenge for Dubuque like no other, impacting all areas of our lives, from our health to children’s education.  Browse the data below to learn about the impact of COVID-19, and submit your comments at the bottom of the page to join the conversation.  

COVID-19 in Dubuque

Deaths 11.8.PNG
Tests 11.8.PNG
Positive cases 11.8.PNG
Positive Test Cases
Individuals Tested
Deaths from COVID-19

Notes: What was previously referred to as "number of tests conducted" has been changed to "number of unique individuals who have received at least one COVID-19 test" in order to better reflect the data.  For more information please see our note on COVID-19 data updates.

The number of positive test cases are shown in the number of instances per day.  The number of unique individuals who have received at least one test and the number of deaths from COVID-19 are shown cumulatively.

How to Analyze COVID-19 Data

Mary Rose Corrigan, Public Health Specialist

City of Dubuque

14-day positivity 11.8.PNG

The 14-day positivity rate is the rate of positive cases compared to the number of tests conducted during the most recent 14-day period.  The 14-day positivity rate for an areas has been one of the key metrics the State of Iowa uses for determining whether school districts should be able to move to a fully remote learning environment.

Please note that this chart reflects daily, point-in-time calculations conducted by the Iowa Department of Public Health.  It does not capture any data that may have been missing at the time of the calculation.  For more information, please see our note on COVID-19 data updates.

Positivity data was unavailable for September 18.


The CDC provides weekly counts of death for each state.  Between March 7 and September 12 of 2020, there have been an estimated 1,092 more deaths in Iowa than any other year between 2014 and 2019, and more than 11% higher death rate than the average of those years.

The year with the next highest number of deaths, 2019, had only 3% more deaths during this period than the average of 2014-2018.

Between May 2 and September 12, 2020, the number of deaths was 15% higher than the average number of deaths between the same period during 2014 through 2019.

As Iowa students prepared to return to schools this year, state officials established that certain metrics -- most notably, a county's 14-day positivity rate -- would be the determining factor in whether schools could conduct their instruction in a virtual setting. As the Telegraph Herald dug into these metrics, it became clear that state's calculations of positivity rates did not align with their own underlying data, such as the number of new tests and cases reported in that corresponding period. 


Our greatest challenge was obtaining a straightforward and transparent answer from the state on why these inconsistencies have occurred. Eventually, we discovered that the discrepancies are primarily -- although not entirely -- due to the state's effort to review and validate case information on positive cases before assigning them to a specific date. This means the state often lags behind in assigning new cases to the proper date, effectively lowering the positivity rates and distorting the real-time realities of the dangers posed by COVID-19. 

Jeff Montgomery, Staff Reporter

Telegraph Herald

Note on COVID-19

Who Has Been Impacted

Deaths from COVID-19 per 10,000 people
On June 18 and September 23 - Iowa

Source: Iowa Covid-19 Tracker (; U.S. Census Bureau

This chart gives the number of known COVID-19 deaths per race and ethnicity, per 10,000 people of that race or ethnicity living in Iowa.  There were also 68 deaths by June 18 and 227 deaths by November 9 attributed to individuals of unknown race that are not included in this data.

"Hispanic or Latino" is considered an ethnicity, and is tracked separately from race. There were 83 deaths by June 18 and 250 deaths by November 9 that are listed as "Ethnicity still pending," and that are not included in this data.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 per 10,000 people for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders is likely lower than the number here due to the substantial undercount in the Marshallese population, as discussed here.  However, even if the population number for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders was tripled - which is much higher than most estimates of the state's actual population - the rate of death from COVID-19 for this community would still be substantially higher than any other racial group.

Positive Cases per race - Iowa 11.8.PNG

The data shown represents the cumulative number of positive COVID-19 cases per 10,000 people.  Positive test data was not available for the Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander group after September 19, and was not available for the American Indian and Alaska Native group after October 2.

Why does the data start at June 18? 

Unfortunately, we could not find readily available data prior to June 18 on the racial distribution of positive COVID-19 cases and COVID-19 related deaths for Iowa.

On May 15, the Iowa Department of Public Health dashboard stated that 32% of COVID-19 cases where the ethnicity was known were Latino (compared to Latinos being 6% of the population); 13% of cases where the race was known were Black or African American (4% of population); and 11% of cases where the race was known were Asian or Pacific Islander (2% of population).

COVID-19 Across Dubuque

The week before the launch of the 2020 Data Walk, the Dubuque County Board of Health released counts of COVID-19 cases by zip code across Dubuque County.  While unfortunately this did not leave enough time to create a map showing which areas have seen the greatest number of cases, we have provided a table below listing the number of positive cases by zip code, along with the number of cases per 100,000 people by zip code.  The data is as of September 25, 2020.

This table has been placed opposite  a map of Dubuque county showing several different breakdowns of census tracts by demographic, economic, and housing data.  The map can be interacted with and explored, and the filters showing these breakdowns can be changed by pressing the eye symbols to the right of the map.  As you explore the interactive map of Dubuque, consider how the map compares to the listing of which areas have seen the largest number of COVID-19 cases.

How to Use the Map

  • Click on the triangle on the picture of the map below to begin interacting with the map.

  • You may move around the map by clicking and dragging on the map.

  • Use the + and - buttons to zoom in or out.

  • On the right side of the map are a series of filters showing different pieces of data.  To move between filters, click the picture of an eye next to the filter you want to activate.

    • The eye will be crossed off when it is not active.

    • Only have one filter active at any one time!  Make sure you turn off your previous filter by clicking the eye next to the filter so it is crossed off.

  • You may click on any of the census tracts to see the specific data for that tract and that filter​.

The​ map below has the following filters showing data for each census tract:

  1. Unemployment rate during June, 2020;

  2. Percent of population that is a racial or ethnic minority;

  3. Median age of the population;

  4. Percent of households that are renter occupied;

  5. Percent of households whose monthly household costs are 30% or more of their monthly income.

Covid Zip Codes 11.9.PNG

Source: Nov. 9 Dubuque Countywide Response to COVID-19 announcement, available here


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All data from the charts comes from the Iowa Covid-19 Tracker website, the Dubuque Countywide Response to COVID-19 announcements on the City of Dubuque site, the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC, and the American Community Survey, which is produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.

For an explanation of why we used the Iowa COVID-19 Tracker website, please see our note about COVID-19 data.  Regarding changes to our COVID-19 data, please see our note on COVID-19 data updates.

All demographic data used for 2020 comes from the 2018 American Community Survey, which was the most current demographic data available at the time of developing this Data Walk.

The CDC's counts for deaths per week for 2019 and 2020 are still considered "provisional."

Data for Iowa Covid-19 Tracker is downloaded from the Iowa Department of Health COVID-19 site at 10:30 am and 10:30 pm each day.  You can read more about the site here.

Testing data for Dubuque County was not available for the website until May 14, and which point 3,469 tests had been conducted in the County.

Data has been missing from the IDPH website (and therefore the Covid-19 Tracker) for the number of positive test cases for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders after 9/18/20, and for American Indian and Alaskan Natives after 10/2/2020.


  • The data on unemployment during COVID-19 (June 2020) are estimates produced as part of a August 4, 2020 working paper by Yair Ghitza, chief scientist at Catalist, and Mark Steitz, principal at TSD Communications and an adjunct professor at Colombia University.  The working paper and data are available here. Additional visualizations can be found at the New York Times here. This data is estimated unemployment data, and should not be considered as reported data.

  • The 2018 Census Bureau's American Community Survey provided data on:

    • The percentage of residents who are a racial or ethnic minority,

    • The median age of residents,

    • The percent of households that are renter occupied, and

    • The percent of households where the monthly housing cost is 30% or more of the household's monthly income

  • The data on COVID-19 case by zip code was taken from the Countywide Response to COVID-19 announcement which can be found here.  Data is from November 9, 2020.  Cases per 100,000 were calculated using the 2018 American Community Survey, which is produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Continue Exploring

Amid the pandemic, local businesses and their employees have faced numerous hurdles, including economic shutdowns, loss of customers, and the risk of providing essential services during a widespread health crisis.

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